I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tsuri Bit -- Odoroyo, Fish (踊ろよ、フィッシュ)

I’ve been aware of the existance of Tsuri Bit (つりビット) for a while, but, in my opinion, their songs didn’t offer nothing new. For me, their sound was just very close to the blandest AKB48 songs that we sometimes come across. Also, their fishing gimmick, although cute, is not capable of building a coherent and stable sound for them (according to generasia, their slogan says that they are all beginner fishermen and will use the experience of fishing to create the best idol performance). The scenary kind of changed with their latest single, though.

“Odoroyo, Fish” is kind of different from what I said earlier. In fact, it’s a 1987 song by Tatsuro Yamashita (山下達郎) which got converted into a summery aidoru tune by Tsuri Bit. Although the chorus is very catchy, and I thank Tatsuro Yamashita for that, what got me really hooked was Tsuri Bit’s arrangement. Not that their arrangement is an example of rich sounds, but the instrumental breakdown near the middle of the song is quite good and features some unashamed old synths that reminded something from early 90s video games during the little crescendo that culminated in the guitar solo with the bright analog strings sound (a very cheap way to add strings sound using synths) in the background. The same synth sound that did the little crescendo in the breakdown is used during the choruses and near the end of the song, also with positive results. As I’m a sucker for that retro electronic sounds, it really won me after the first listen. At the same time, I almost laughed with the boldness. I can tell that an American pop song would never use a similar dated sound in such a serious way.

To finish, here’s Tatsuro Yamashita’s original recording of “Odoroyo, Fish”.

Tsuri Bit’s “Odoroyo, Fish” was released as a single in July 2014 and reached #25 on the Oricon charts. Lyrics and music were written by Tatsuro Yamashita, while Tsuri Bit’s arrangement was done by Yasuaki Maejima (前嶋康明).


  1. Hi, Marcos.

    I have to admit that being the older geezer, I still prefer the Yamashita original but Tsuri Bit's cover is pretty adorable. I guess I have heard everything aidoru. As to your point about American pop not ever using the past sounds, I can only say "Only in Japan". I think part of what has made Japanese pop music over the decades so interesting is that the composers and arrangers are more than happy to unabashedly use the sounds of the past.

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      Yeah, Yamashita's original recording is absolutely great, but you know I can't resist an aidoru rendition, haha.

      Like you said, "Only in Japan" musicians goes somewhat "out of the box". Generally speaking, the only agency that really tries to keep up with current sounds is Avex. Hello! Project is also making success with the current wave of electronic dance music, but there's always the typical Japanese aidoru feel involved. On the other hand, even Yasushi Akimoto likes to use retro sounds in some AKB48 hit singles. Their last summer single, "Labrador Retriever", is a perfect tribute to 60's French Pop music, for example. Team Syachihoko's house attempt with "Iikurashi" also comes to my mind as an clever usage of retro sound. Yasutaka Nakata, while always looking for new trends, makes heavy use of various retro electronic styles in his arrangements. And I didn't even mentioned Especia, which is a niche group, anyway. Well, I could spend all night mentioning examples... In the end, even with all the aidoru groups and Johnny's everasting boybands, I still think that the Japanese pop music industry is a lot more diverse than the American one, which relies heavily in hip-hop/R&B/urban and electronic dance music nowadays.

    2. Yeah, Akimoto certainly brought back the 70s into AKB's "Koi Suru Fortune Cookie". I think in terms of the R&B influence on J-Pop, although there was that time in the last decade where bands were providing their own take on hip-hop, the composers and arrangers seem to enjoy returning to the good ol' disco from the late 70s and early 80s.

      I can agree on your point about the diversity of music and that's been the case for the last few decades. Jazz and bossa nova, for example, didn't largely carry through into 70s American music but it was more prevalent in kayo kyoku. And I think it was because Japanese singers and their compadres were willing to experiment with non-Japanese genres to a good degree that I got interested in kayo kyoku in the first place.


Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.